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Full text of "The City-Wide Friends of the Boston Public Library : the first decade, 1987-1997"

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Compiled and Edited by 

Berthe M. Gaines, John \\ Thomson, 

Eleanor Jensen* and Jean Sheikh 


The City- Wide Friends choose the words of the 
distinguished librarian and educator, Vartan 
Gregorian, to express their dedication to books. At 
the celebration of the 100 th anniversary of the 
McKim Building, he said: 

Libraries have always occupied a central role in 
our culture. They contain our nation s heritage, 
the heritage of humanity, the record of its 
triumphs and failures, the record of mankind s 
intellectual, scientific and artistic achieve- 
ments. They are the diaries of the human race, 
the instruments of civilization, a laboratory of 
human endeavor, a window of the future, a 
source of hope, a source of self renewal. They 
are the symbol of our community with 
mankind. They represent the link between the 
solitary individual and mankind which is our 


of the 


Public Awareness 

Editor: M. Jane Manthorne 

Berthe M. Gaines, Eleanor Jensen, 
Jean Sheikh, and John P. Thomson 

Designer and Production Manager: N. Hermes Boyatis 

Cover design: 
Adapted from a map in Living in Boston, 
City of Boston, July 1978 

ISBN: 0-89073-089-x 

Copyright © 1998 
Trustees of the Public Library of the City of Boston 


Berthe M. Gaines 

When W. P. Kinsella wrote in his book Shoeless Joe, "If you 
build it they will come," he certainly had it right. Whether you 
build a baseball field, a library, or a movement, people will rally 
around a common cause. 

In the early months of 1981, there were rumors of closing all 
branch libraries and maintaining only the Central and the 
Research Library in Copley Square. The passage of Proposition 
2V2 had forced severe reductions in all city department budgets. 
The Library's budget, already woefully inadequate, was almost 
decimated. Following the rumors, at a meeting held by the 
Trustees of the Boston Public Library in Rabb Lecture Hall, we 
learned that what we had feared most was happening: some 
branch libraries were slated for closing. 

As a result of that meeting, Library supporters from every 
branch library in the city of Boston, from every socio-economic, 
cultural, ethnic, racial, educational and religious background 
banded together and mobilized for their common cause: books 
and libraries. Thus was born the Save Our Library Committee, 
one of Boston's finest and most exciting movements. 

The Save Our Library Committee decided that its mission would 
be to support the entire library system and the members became 
its apostles. This remarkable committee was very democratic. 
To ensure good working relationships, members' egos were 
suppressed and each person's opinion (even if not adopted) was 
respected. No permanent officers were elected. Instead, a 
revolving chair was established, and members volunteered or 
were chosen to preside over meetings. This method contributed 
to a feeling of equality and partnership that helped the Save Our 
Library Committee to flourish. 

At its inception, the Committee consisted of about two dozen 
people. From 1981 to 1983, the Committee waxed to 
approximately forty members, each person contributing 
something to the movement. By 1984, the membership had 
waned to a dozen. 

During those years, the Save Our Library Committee used 
several strategies to try to preserve the branches. With the 
guidance of the Library lobby they educated the state and federal 


legislators and city councilors of the Library's importance to its 
users and the dire future facing the institution. Committee 
members made telephone calls, organized meetings, lobbied 
citizens, held rallies, walked picket lines, wrote petitions, 
gathered thousands of signatures, and wooed the media for 
coverage. They met with the President and members of the 
Board of Trustees, Library administrative staff, the President 
and members of the Professional Staff Association of the Library, 
the President and members of the American Federation of State, 
County, Municipal Employees, the President of the Associates, 
Library Friends groups, and patrons of the Library. With this 
concerted, impassioned pressure, the Save Our Library 
Committee finally succeeded in keeping most of the branches 

January 1984 saw the installation of a more Library-friendly 
administration in City Hall. Following the appointment of a 
Committee member to the Board of trustees of the Library in 
March 1984, the Save Our Library Committee disbanded. 

Within the Save Our Library Committee, one visionary member, 
John P. Thomson, strongly believed that citizens should form a 
city-wide support system for the Boston Public Library so that 
such a committee as Save Our Library would never again be 
needed. Fortunately for all of us, his dream became a reality. 

BertheM. Gaines, Trustee 

Life Member of the City-Wide Friends 




John P. Thomson 

The city-wide support system envisioned by the Save Our 
Library Committee became a reality on June 27, 1987. On that 
date, fifty charter members attended the first meeting of the 
City-Wide Friends of the Boston Public Library. The majority of 
the initial members belonged to previously organized Friends 
groups from Brighton, Connolly, Dudley, Hyde Park, South 
Boston, Charlestown, West Roxbury, Parker Hill, and Lower 
Mills Branches. 

On May 21, 1997, the City- Wide Friends celebrated its tenth 
anniversary. As we look to a future in which the role of public 
libraries in educating, informing, and connecting all of our 
citizens has grown more important than ever before, let us 
review our mission and look back upon our brief history. 


The City-Wide Friends of the Boston Public Library is 
a volunteer, community- based organization that seeks 
to enhance public awareness, recognition, status, and 
financial support of the library system through 
advocacy and education. 

City-Wide Friends works cooperatively with the 
administration of the Boston Public Library, branch 
library Friends, and with other organizations, 
institutions, and individuals to support strong 
libraries throughout Boston. 



Founding members approved the By-laws and Articles of 
Incorporation at the first annual meeting on June 27, 1987 in 
the Children's Resource Room, Johnson Building in the Central 
Library. The membership accepted the new By-laws and Articles 
of Incorporation as a charitable organization.* 

The main speaker was author Dan Wakefield, who entertained 
the audience of some 50 charter members with stories of his 
writing career and his earlier days using the Los Angeles Public 
Library. Among the guests were President of the Board of 
Trustees, Kevin F. Moloney; Berthe M. Gaines, Trustee; 
Marianne Rea Luthin, Trustee; Director Arthur Curley, and 
Lesley Loke, Assistant Director for Community Library Services, 
who served as Library Liaison to the City- Wide Friends from 
1987 to 1994. (Appendix A lists the Board of Directors from 

Most of the material in this history comes from the Friends 
Forum, a quarterly newsletter established in the spring of 1988. 
Library Director Arthur Curley congratulated the Friends in the 
first issue: "This achievement is yet another reflection of the 
spirit of those individual citizens who first brought the vision of 
Boston's public library into being. My best wishes to your efforts 
to continue this tradition." 

Also in the first issue was a band at the bottom of page one, still 
in use, saying: "Supporting the entire system." The band lists 
the main library (Copley) and the branch libraries indicating 
which branches have active Friends groups. In 1988 there were 
11 active Friends groups. Presently there are 21 (Dudley, Hyde 
Park, Brighton, East Boston, Jamaica Plain, Parker Hill, West 
End, Charlestown, Egleston, Roslindale, West Roxbury, Codman 
Square, Faneuil, Lower Mills, South Boston, South End, 
Connolly, Fields Corner, Mattapan, North End, Uphams 
Corner), with one more branch library in the process of 
establishing a group. 

*/n June 19 H6 the Library Trustees (Kevin F. Moloney, William M. Bulger, 
Berthe M. Gaines, Doris Keams Goodwin, Marianne Rea Luthin) had voted 
to work closely with the Frienils groups in the formation of policies related to 
their activities and support of the Boston Public Library. 





A Capital Plan! 

Friends of The Hyde Park Branch Library issued a special edition of their newsletter in 
celebration of the plan for restoration. 

Another feature, still included, in the newsletter is the column, 
"Browsing in the Branches," a compilation of events and 
programs presented by local Friends groups in the branch 
libraries. The first issue announced a talk by The Boston Globe 
architecture critic Robert Campbell on "The Architecture of 
Copley Square." Featured was an article about the ground 
breaking of the new addition to the West Roxbury Branch 
Library. (See Branch garden on page 18). Completed in 1990, 
the addition nearly doubled the space for the new branch. At 
that time, after one year, the City-Wide Friends had enrolled 
150 members, including 17 life members. The first life member 
of the City- Wide Friends was Kevin F. Moloney, President of the 
Board of Trustees. 

For many years members of the City- Wide Friends have assisted 
in organizing and strengthening Friends groups in the branch 
libraries. John P. Thomson and Bob Smith have gone to a 
number of branches to provide advice on forming such groups. 
Both were instrumental in organizing the highly successful Hyde 
Park Friends of the Library in 1981 and in organizing the City- 
Wide Friends. (See special Centennial Issue of the Friends of the 
Hyde Park Branch Newsletter above.) 

To help facilitate the work of the City-Wide Friends, the 
Trustees allocated office space, now Room 202, in the Johnson 
Building of the Central Library.* 

*£>ee inside of back cover. 


Editor of the Friends Forum was Lorrey Bianchi, who assumed 
the City-Wide Friends presidency in the spring of 1989. The 
spring 1989 issue of the Friends Forum announced that the 
newsletters would be printed through the support of the New 
England Mutual Life Insurance Company for a period of time. 

In the fall of 1989, the City-Wide Friends joined a cooperative 
effort offering a series of plays presented by the Playwrights 
Platform. The series was supported by the Boston Public 
Library, the Friends of Hyde Park, Brighton, and West Roxbury 
Branch Libraries, and the Mayors Office of Arts and Humanities. 

The City-Wide Friends supported the Trustees' ambitious plan 
(begun in 1983) to rebuild and renovate the McKim Building. 
The work is still continuing. The Board of Directors also voted 
to agree with the concept of enlarging the Library's Board of 
Trustees from 5 members to 9, with at least one appointee to be 
a member of the City-Wide Friends and/or a branch library 
Friends group. As a follow-up, in 1994 the state legislature 
approved an amendment to the law allowing such expansion. 

Also in 1989, the City-Wide Friends recommended that the 
Library administration create a full-time community relations 
position to work with library volunteers, Friends groups, and 
other neighborhood organizations related to improving and 
supporting our public library system. 


"Budget Crisis Passes, Mostly. . . ." was the headline in the Fall 
1989 Friends Forum. Mayor Flynn had proposed severe cuts in 
the $22.5 million budget submitted by the Library Trustees, 
which would cut the Trustees' figure to $18.5 million. Flynn said 
the Library must accept its fair share of reduction; but the 
Library administration saw the mandated cuts as catastrophic. 

Acting as a catalyst, the City-Wide Friends, joined with branch 
Friends and the Associates of the Library to protest the cuts. 
Letters were sent to the mayor and city councilors. Rallies were 
held at several branch libraries; and a larger rally at Rabb 
Lecture Hall attracted nearly 400 persons, with prominent 
authors appearing and representatives from all the branch 
libraries. More than 13,000 residents of the city of Boston, 
including branch Friends groups, signed petitions by Friends 
asking the city to restore the budget shortfall. 


Through the cooperation of its publisher, William 0. Taylor, The 
Boston Globe published a full-page advertisement depicting the 
plight of the library system under the proposed cuts. A trustee 
and others helped balance the media's coverage with personal 
donations for an advertisement in the Boston Herald. 

At the eleventh hour, then Senate President William M. Bulger, 
Vice-President of the Library Trustees, prevailed on state 
legislators to vote an additional $ 500,000. Supporting his efforts 
were Boston city councilors and members of the Friends move- 
ment. Mayor Flynn restored $1.5 million to the Library's budget. 
Despite this action, a $2 million shortfall remained and severe 
cuts were necessary, including Saturday and lunch-time closing 
for most branch libraries, support staff reductions, and Sunday 
closing of the Central Library for the first time in many years. 

Lorrey Bianchi, President of the City- Wide Friends, commented 
on the success of the Friends' efforts: 

We all worked together to show the Legislature, the 
city administration, and the City Council that the 
people who love libraries aren't always quiet and 
arent willing to see a great library become a second- 
hand travesty of what it could be. Future budgets may 
see even tougher struggles to keep the library strong 
and growing. City-Wide Friends stands as a staunch 
supporter of the Boston Public Library. 

It should be noted that at this time Senate President Bulger 
began a process that would increase the amount of state 
payments to the Boston Public Library as the Commonwealth's 
Library of Last Recourse from approximately $150,000 in 1978 
to approximately $6.5 million today. These payments are unique 
to the Boston Public Library, and they are in addition to regular 
state aid payments to the Boston Public Library. 

Senate President Bulger helped to design a new statutory 
provision and to utilize an existing one in a new way. The first 
provision protects all public libraries and communities 
throughout the Commonwealth from cuts by city/town 
governments. It mandates that city/town funding be no less than 
102.5% of the average funding for the libraries for the prior 
three years. The second provision relates to the above- 
mentioned payments. Both provisions have been very beneficial 
to the Boston Public Library. 



Early in 1990, following receipt of the word that the threatened 
Library budget had been revised and increased, President of the 
Trustees, Kevin Moloney paid this tribute: "This change in the 
Library's circumstances would not have taken place without the 
many hours of hard work by officers and members of Friends 
groups throughout the city." 

As the City- Wide Friends continued through its third year, 
members were informed of a new automated system for card 
holders, with the now-familiar card with its bar code and a lamp 
on the front. Library use was rising as this new electronic 
system was introduced. 

By the spring of 1990 the Friends had more than 400 members, 
mostly from metropolitan Boston. Major committees of the 
Friends were Program Development, Membership, Fundraising, 
and Media/Publicity. Helped by Levine Associates of Brookline, 
the Friends created a membership/development process with 
newly designed applications and other methods of promotion. 
During 1990 members of the City- Wide Friends Board of 
Directors met with Sandy Dolnick, formerly executive director 
of the Friends of the Library, USA. They also promoted a major 
membership drive in October, with tables for recruitment in the 
lobbies of the Johnson Building and the McKim Building. 

One of the exciting programs presented by the Friends was 
"Mystery at the BPL," held in Rabb Lecture Hall just before 
Halloween. Geri Michael-Hackel and Bob Smith of the Program 
Committee developed the mystery evening. A panel of local 
mystery writers (Jeremiah Healy, Joan Higgins, Susan Kelly, and 
William G. Tapply) were questioned by City- Wide Friends 
President Lorrey Bianchi. 

Programming by the City- Wide Friends in both the Central and 
branch libraries, from the first event with author Dan Wakefield, 
continued. In May 1991, the sixth annual meeting of the City- 
Wide Friends featured speaker Jane Manthorne, Curator of 
Publications for the Boston Public Library. 


A milestone for libraries, the creation of the Massachusetts 
Friends of the Libraries, came in January with the help of City- 
Wide Friends board members, among them City- Wide President 
Donald Oakes and John P. Thomson. The statewide group 
provides a way to work together on the state and regional level 
on library fundraising, policies, and legislation. 

Leadership Conferences have been sponsored regularly by the 
City- Wide Friends. They are held at the Central Library and 
provide opportunities for Friends networking. Invitations are 
sent to all Friends groups in the city. For example, the second 
conference in 1992 had 40 leaders from 18 Friends groups in 
attendance for an all-day discussion on the Library and 
associated matters. Friends heard from Director Arthur Curley 
about impending budget cuts. Later in the day, Curley escorted 
the participants on a tour of public and private areas of the 
McKim Building to demonstrate the plans for the renovation of 
the building that opened to the public in 1895. 


Unfortunately, by the spring of 1991 another budget crisis arose. 
Mayor Flynn's latest recommendation was for a 9% cut from the 
1991 budget of #19, 588,910 or #3.2 million less than the 
estimated #21 million needed to level fund our library services. 
The disturbing headline in the spring 1991 Friends Fomm read 
"Here We Go Again: Mayor [Flynn] Proposes Major Cuts in 
Library Fund." 

In response, the City- Wide Friends declared that "We as 
citizens, Friends, and library patrons must care because the 
library system is part of the solution to the city's long and short 
term problems, not a part of the problem." 

Again, as in 1989, the City-Wide Friends Board of Directors, in 
cooperation with branch library Friends groups, promoted the 
signing of thousands of petitions. They alerted the mayor, city 
councilors, state representatives, senators, and participants at 
neighborhood branch meetings to the ramifications of a 
reduction in funds. 


City- Wide Friends President Donald Oakes stated: 

Everyone recognizes that money is tight, but in the 
midst of the great 1930s depression in Boston, our 
library system remained intact and was not cut 
badly.... Our library system is part of the solution to 
our problems. Institutions such as libraries are the 
bedrock of recovery and must be saved, improved, 
and maintained at a proper level for all citizens. 
Reading is precious and must be preserved. 

City- Wide Friends continued to work with the Trustees, the 
Library administration, and The Boston Public Library 
Foundation, established in 1992, to raise funds for the McKim 
restoration. The Foundation has since expanded its mission to 
include financial support for the entire system. 


As the economic and budget situation improved by 1992, the 
City- Wide Friends' attention moved away from advocacy for the 
Library towards various forms of support: programs, 
conferences, and regular sales of used books. Credit for making 
book sales possible, presently the major source of income for the 
Friends along with membership dues, goes to Trustee Berthe M. 
Gaines, who strongly recommended to the administration that 
discontinued books be sold, rather than committed to the City 
dumpster. Much credit goes as well to Past President Lorrey 
Bianchi, who chaired the first Friends Book Sale Committee. 

Periodic Book Sales to raise funds for "off-budget" items for the 
Library, using donated and deacquisitioned books from the 
Library collections, commenced in 1991. Volunteers in City- 
Wide Friends manage all aspects of the sales, and the proceeds 
are donated to the Library annually. (A partial listing of items 
purchased with Book Sale funds is included in Appendix C.) 

In the history of book sales - from the first sale to the present - 
more than twenty volunteers, including Friends President 
Eleanor Jensen and past Treasurer Gerald Cavanaugh, have 
helped to process the books, which come primarily from 
discarded/discontinued books from the Library, often referred to 
as "deacquisitioned" books. 



John P. 
first President 
of the City- 
Wide Friends. 

Joseph J. King, 
first Secretary 
of the City- 
Wide Friends. 

Above: Robert (Bob) Smith, at his frequent post with the Hyde Park Friends. 
Bob served as Board member of the City-Wide Friends from 1989 to 1993 
and attended every BPL Trustees meeting from 19S4 to 1990. 

Left: Aurora 
Salvucci, first 
Treasurer of 
the City -Wide 
Friends, looks 
at the Friends' 
new logo. 

Ri£ht; Berthe 
M. Gaines, 
Trustee of the 
Boston Public 
Library from 
1984 to the 
present and 
1993 to 1996. 


At first, sales were held monthly (now six times yearly). As 
many as 15,000 books have been available at each sale. 
Income has gone to the Central Library and to branch 
libraries for items not included in the budget. 

As the sales progressed, additional activities and gifts were 
made possible. In the summer of 1992 a major event took 
place with the presentation of a check for $9,000 to the 
Library for beautification projects and materials for 
children's programs at branch libraries. Other checks in 
various amounts have come from the City-Wide Friends 
book sale proceeds for library needs, both at Central and at 
the branch libraries. 


Through their newsletter, the Friends continued to highlight 
innovations by the Library administration. In the spring of 
1992, an article featured a "New Search Service at the 
Library: User Friendly Computers." The computer system 
replaced the microfilm machines for access to catalog 
descriptions of books. In recent years, the old furniture in 
the Johnson Building that housed index cards has been 
replaced by computer terminals for locating books and other 
materials held by the Library. 

Since the first Annual Meeting there have been many 
excellent speakers. Among them: Gunars Rutkovskis, 
Assistant Director for the Boston Public Library Resources 
and Research Library Services; Sinclair Hitchings, Keeper of 
Prints; and Associate Director Liam M. Kelly, who spoke of 
"Technology in the BPL: From Typewriters to Terminals." 

In the spring of 1993, the City-Wide Friends honored Rose 
Moorachian for her support of the Friends movement. She 
retired as Supervisor of Branch Libraries after nearly 50 
years of dedicated service. Other supporters of the Friends 
movement have been Katherine Dibble, Supervisor for 
Readers Services in the Research Library, and Diane Farrell, 
prior to her retirement, Coordinator of Reader and 
Information Services in the General Library. Among the 
very helpful Library staff to assist the Friends movement 
over many years have been Regina Cotter and Garry Wong, 
both in the Office of Community Library Services. 



Left: Kevin F. Moloney, President of the Library Trustees, 1 984- 1 990. 
Right: Senate President William M. Bulger, Vice-President, Library Trustees. 
Below: Preparing for tlie Friends' Valentine Book Sale. 

One of the most successful of the City-Wide Friends' endeavors 
has been the Literacy Program founded by Board member Jean 
Sheikh, formerly President of the Literary Council of Reading- 
Berks, Reading, Pennsylvania. 

At the 1993 annual meeting, the City-Wide Friends Board of 
Directors authorized Jean Sheikh to form an English-as-a- 
Second Language (ESL) tutoring program for adults, to be run 
by Friends volunteers in cooperation with the Library. The 
program was welcomed by Boston Public Library senior staff, 
especially Lesley Loke, Assistant Director for Community 
Library Services, and Ellen Graf, Special Projects Librarian. 

The first ESL training workshop in May 1994 trained 18 tutors. 
Families and members of Library staff were given priority to 
study English with a volunteer tutor. Responding to the great 
need among adults who require help with literacy and English 
language skills, the project has grown over the years to nearly 
200 tutors. (See Appendix B for listing of contributors to the 
success of the City- Wide Friends' first ten years.) 

Profiled in the Friends Forum in 1994 were two outstanding 
librarians: Lesley Loke, the Library's Liaison to the City-Wide 
Friends; and Ellen Graf, Liaison to the City-Wide Friends Book 
Sale Committee. 

In the course of the Friends Forum interview, Lesley Loke 
recalled that "during the 1989 and subsequent budget cuts, City- 
Wide Friends was basically our life-line and served as a pivotal 
coordinating organization, drawing together other Friends 
groups, residents, and everyone interested in preserving the 
Library and its services. We are really grateful to City- Wide 
Friends for its support," she observed, noting that support 
included not only budget advocacy but also attention to 
promoting some of the "smaller needs, but in reality vital needs 
of the Library": chairs, books, and basic requisites of both 
Central and branch libraries. 

That same year (1994), June Eiselstein joined the Boston Public 
Library as Supervisor of the General Library, succeeding Lesley 
Loke as Liaison to the City- Wide Friends. She is an enthusiastic 
supporter of the Friends movement. 


Meanwhile, the ESL program has expanded to include regularly 
scheduled "Conversations with Friends" where students and 
other interested persons meet with English-speaking volunteers 
to practice their English. Students come from 45 countries with 
native languages ranging from Arabic to Vietnamese. Conver- 
sation groups have now been formed in Roslindale and Brighton, 
and others are in process of formation with plans for two more 
tutoring programs at Mattapan and Grove Hall. 

Training workshops for tutors, conducted by Madelyn Morales, a 
master trainer with the Commonwealth Literacy Corps, are held 
quarterly. Tutors commit three to five hours a week for at least 
six months. Currently there are 83 active tutor/student pairs. 
Reviewing the expansion of the ESL activities, President Eleanor 
Jensen declared, "We are proud of the program and the 
dedication of the volunteer tutors involved." 

The Boston Public Library Foundation has supported the 
Literacy Program of the City-Wide Friends financially through a 
#45,000 grant from the law firm of Day, Berry and Howard. The 
Literacy Program has been buttressed by additional smaller 
donations in subsequent years. Friends tutors have also won 
grants from their employers, and the Library has helped support 
training through The Boston Globe Foundation Fund. 

As we review our book sales and the range of things they have 
supported, we take pause and remember what the distinguished 
Boston poet David McCord said in celebration of the Library's 

A library in any of its waking hours is a fair cross- 
section of the nation. People go there to read for 
information, inspiration, and recreation; out of 
despair and solitude, to strengthen belief to brighten 
the rusty armor of courage and hope. The very old go 
there; the children use it; the scholar, musician, artist, 
teacher, writer, editor; the professional man and the 
businessman — the fellow far from home, the man in 
the next block: all turn to the library every working 
hour of the day. 

David McCord's Library is our Library, the noble institution the 
Friends support. 



In 1995 City-Wide Friends volunteers collected signatures on 
approximately 2,000 postcards to urge the U.S. House of 
Representatives to raise federal funding for libraries to the level 
of 81.00 per person. The response of the public was an eye- 
opener - the depth of the public's appreciation of the importance 
of libraries to the well-being of the nation was shown by their 
comments, a sampling of which follows: 

Libraries are the first most accessible seat of 
learning to everyone regardless of income. Isnt this 
what separates us from third world dictatorships? 
Is learning only for the wealthy? We as Americans 
(all Americans!) deserve the best. 

Libraries are the great storehouses of knowledge - 
accessible to all, they are our truest example of 
democracy. Without them, the foundations of a free 
and just society will crumble. 

Where else will Americans turn for guidance and 
access to information in any of the new forms or 
formats (i.e., CD- ROM, Internet) but to the libraries 
and librarians on whose services and skills they 
have always been able to depend. Libraries are a 
basic part of American life. 

I bring my son here every week. It is important for 
our children to have a clean, efficient library with 
a vast selection of books and newspapers. Such a 
library needs more federal funding. 



1996 ELEANOR JENSEN, President of the City-Wide Friends, 
appointed by the Board of Library Commissioners to the Boston 
Region Interim Planning Committee. 

1996 M. BARBARA PERRY , Secretary of the City- Wide Friends 
(and President of the Charlestown Branch Friends) appointed to 
the Search Committee for a new President of the Boston Public 

1997 JEAN SHEIKH, Chair of the ESL Committee, appointed to 
the Trustees' Education Committee. At this time, the Library 
continues to use ESL for English-as-a-Second Language. In other 
parts of the nation, ESOL is used, standing for English-for- 

1997 JOHN P. THOMSON, President Emeritus of the City-Wide 
Friends, appointed to the Trustees' Examining Committee 


As the City- Wide Friends of the Boston Public Library begins its 
eleventh year, it may be appropriate to present the 
organization's original "General Purposes," outlined in the 
Articles of Incorporation, first approved ten years ago in May, 

The purposes of this non-profit organization shall be 
to maintain an association of persons to stimulate 
public support, understanding and use of the Boston 
Public Library system, its main library and its branch 
libraries; to encourage, give and receive gifts, 
endowments and bequests for the benefit of the Boston 
Public Library and allied institutions in developing 
library services and facilities for library patrons, in 
keeping with the historic tradition of fine public 
library service in Boston, the Commonwealth of 
Massachusetts and the United States of America. 



As an outgrowth of the Book Sales and the volume of books 
(particularly Young Adult) donated for sale, the City- Wide 
Friends have instituted a program of donating books to non- 
profit schools, shelters, care facilities, and other organizations 
that seek to serve people living on very limited budgets. 

The English-as-a-Second Language (ESL) program continues to 
grow, co-chaired by Jean Sheikh and Beverly Ross. The program 
is actively supported by June Eiselstein, Library Liaison to the 
City-Wide Friends, and Ellen Graf, chair of the Library's 
Coordinating Committee for Literacy. 

The Friends Forum, the newsletter of the City- Wide Friends, 
has become a vital vehicle to publicize their work and to keep 
members aware of general library concerns. 

Below: The garden and fountain at the rear of the West Roxbury Branch 
Library, designed, planted, and maintained by the Friends of the Branch, 
was dedicated in 1989. Conceived by Alice Hennessey, thus peacefid, idyllic 
place is enjoyed by library patrons and Friends from throughout the city. 



As we mourn the passing of former Director Arthur Gurley, a 
true pioneer in bringing books and learning to everyone, we 
remember his tribute to Friends groups in an interview with the 
Frieruls Forum in 1989: 

They are absolutely essential. Everywhere I've worked, 
I've helped develop Frieruls groups when there weren't 
any. Community links with the library are keys for 
communication about what's needed, what's working, 
what should be changed. 

Now we look to the future with Curley's successor, Bernard 
Margolis. In an interview in The Boston Globe by John Yemma 
(3/29/98) celebrating the Library's Sesquicentennial, Yemma 
called Margolis a "new type of librarian for a new type of public 
library." " He is a community ambassador, a master of cere- 
monies. He sells. He promotes. He cheerleads." 

The new president discussed the approaching millennium. He 
noted that "in the age of cocooning, privatizing, mall roaming, 
and cyber surfing," the Library might seem "a little shopworn," 
the use of books as instruments of information-transfer, "dying." 
Not so! Quietly positive, President Margolis promised that the 
Boston Public Library will continue to bring the public to its 
doors, connect them with millions of books, audio tapes, 
videocassettes, periodicals, and more, yet - at the same time - 
offer them the latest electronic tools of communication. 


In the history of book and art treasures, many catastrophes have 
occurred. The earliest was the burning of the library in 
Alexandria, Egypt. Horrendous, too were the art and books 
destroyed by flood in Florence, Italy, and the holdings of the Los 
Angeles Public Library ravaged by water and fire. 

Such a disaster struck the Library in August 1998, just as the 
Friends were completing this history. The eruption of a water 
main flooded the basements of the Johnson Building and the 
recently restored McKim Building. The destruction of rare 
treasures was reported extensively in the media, and the Friends 
Forum issued a special Flood Edition. On page 20 are a few of 
the visual analogies of what happened in the flood. 



Millions of gallons of water 
flooded the Central Library on 
August 16, 1998. The average 
household bathtub holds about 
20 gallons oi water. 

The process used to remove 
moisture from books is very 
similar to the process used to 
make freeze-dried coffee. 

Dozens of maps were air dried 
in the Tea Room of the McKim 

Donations of cash, materials, 
and services began within a 
few hours of the flood. 
Donors included large 
corporations and private 


"Approximately 30% of the materials in the Government 
Documents and Science Reference Departments were 

"Portable air conditioning units and dehumidifiers lowered room 
temperature and reduced humidity, thus prolonging the time 
that recovery could be accomplished." 


Excerpts from The Boston Globe (8/23/98): 

"For many librarians at the Boston Public Library, the 
sight of muddy documents and bloated books in the 
flooded basement was like watching a tragic accident." 

"As the enormous losses at the BPL have sunk in, many 
librarians have behaved like grieving relatives. Crying 
jags, headaches, upset stomachs, and sleepless nights 
have been common, symptoms often linked to the loss 
of loved ones." 

A grieving librarian in Government Documents: "It's 
about our heritage, people learning what our govern- 
ment is about." (In awesome irony, the Department was 
praised as a Federal Depository just five years ago 
before the move to the basement level because "the 
environmental factors in the library have changed 
dramatically since the last inspection. There is now air 
conditioning, humidity control, and the storage area has 
been waterproofed.") 

The Curator of the Science Reference Department: "It's 
your identity, it's who you are." 

Immediate help was needed to deal with the awful devastation: 
boxes for damaged materials, trucks, volunteers, and cash. From 
individuals, businesses and corporations, from people who care 
about books and libraries, the response has been overwhelming. 

True to their mission, members of the City-Wide Friends 
responded immediately. At the Library's press conference, on 
August 20, Mayor Thomas M. Menino appealed for donations to 
the library relief fund. At that time, Eleanor Jensen - with all 
members of the board in attendance - presented a check in the 
amount of $10,000 representing the year's book sales. A few 
days later she received a letter jointly signed by President 
Bernard Margolis and Kevin Phelan, Chairman of The Boston 
Public Library Foundation* acknowledging the Friends' "quick 
and generous response to the catastrophic flood." 

*Thc Trustees of the Boston Public Library have requested that The 
Foundation act as ttieir agent to receive and acknowleilge donations. 



Board of Directors 

Officers, 1987-89: John P. Thomson, president; Lorrey Bianchi, vice- 
president; Aurora Salvucci, treasurer; Joseph King, secretary; Donald 
Oakes, Robert Smith, and Edward Sweda Jr. 

Officers, 1989-1991: Lorrey Bianchi, president; Donald Oakes, vice- 
president; Aurora Salvucci, treasurer; John P. Thomson, corresponding 
secretary; Jane Borrowman, recording secretary; Joseph King, Carl 
Lundquist, Barbara Oakes, Robert Smith, and Edward Sweda Jr. 
(legislative representative). 

Officers, 1991-1993: Donald Oakes, president; Carl W. Lundquist, vice- 
president; Aurora Salvucci, treasurer; Geri Michael-Hackel, secretary; 
Jane Borrowman, Joseph King, Barbara Oakes, Karen Petersen, Robert 
Smith, John P. Thomson, and Edward Sweda Jr. 

Officers, 1993-1994: Geri Michael-Hackel, president; Lois E. Stryker, 
vice-president; Gerald F. Gavanaugh, treasurer; Eleanor Jensen, 
secretary; Marcia Goober, T. Harrison Hamilton, Gail Ide, Donald 
Oakes, and Andrea Quigley. 

Officers, 1994-1995: Eleanor Jensen, president; Barbara Perry, 
secretary; Gerald Gavanaugh, treasurer; Barbara D'Angelo, Gail Ide, 
Bobbie Patrick, Francine Pennino, Julie Porter, Aileen Rice, and Jean 

Officers, 1995-1997: Eleanor Jensen, president; Francine Pennino, 
vice-president and treasurer; Barbara Perry, secretary; Tracey Gusick, 
Wayne Dudley, Ginny Gass, Bobbie Patrick, Aileen Rice, and Jean 



Thanks to the City-Wide Friends Officers, Directors, Book Sale, and 
English-as-a-Second Language volunteers who made our first ten years 
a success. Thanks also to Library Trustees, Administrators, and Staff.* 

Renee Arb ESL 

Patricia Ascher ESL 

Joan Back ESL 

Andrea Bader ESL 

Kay Bader ESL 

Eve Beer ESL 

Lorrey Bianchi Board 

David Billo Book Sale 

Jane Borrowman Board 

Kathie Bowe Book Sale 

William M. Bulger BPL Board of Trustees 

Eleanore Garter ESL 

Gerald Cavanaugh Board, Book Sale 

Dominique Goiro ESL 

Nancy Cordopatri ESL 

Regina Cotter BPL Community Library Services Office 

Linda Crescenzo ESL 

Tracey Cusick Board, ESL 

Barbara D'Angelo Board, ESL 

Denise Davis ESL 

Emily Den ESL 

Nancy F. DeRoode Book Sale 

Rene P. Deveau Book Sale 

Jay Dia ESL 

Brian Doherty ESL 

Wayne Dudley Board 

June Eiselstein BPL Sup. Gen. Lib., Library Liaison, ESL 

Jody Eldredge BPL Coordinator of Tour Guides, ESL 

Anne Fernandes Book Sale 

Domingo Fernandes Book Sale 

Ralph Flynn Book Sale 

Berthe M. Gaines BPL Board of Trustees, Save Our Library 

Wendy Gallo ESL 

Ginny Gass Board 

Susan Gillespie ESL 

Marcia Goober Board 

Ellen Graf BPL Spec. Proj. Dir., Book Sale Liaison, ESL 

Barbara Grant Book Sale 

Gavin Grant ESL 

Jeff Green ESL 

Harrison Hamilton Board 


Kathleen Hegarty 

BPL Staff Officer, Special Programs/Services 

Myriam Hernandez 


Molly Hewitt 


Brad Houston 


Gail B. Ide 


Eleanor Jensen 

Board, Book Sale 

Georgianna Johnson 


Dorothy Jones 


Tom Kane 


Joseph King 

Board, Save Our Library 

Mary Louise Knapp 

ESL, Book Sale 

Kathleen Koplik 


Brenda Lew 

Book Sale 

Elliot Libby 


Lesley Loke 

BPL Ass't Dir. GLS, Library Liaison 

Carl Lundquist 


Robert Mackay 

Book Sale 

Mary MacLean 


Jane Manthorne 

BPL Ass't Dir., Curator of Pub's, Book Sale 

Judy Mason 


Joan Mather 


Kevin McGinty 


Jaime Medrano 


Joseph Merriam 

Book Sale 

Geri Michael-Hackel 


Alice Mills 

ESL, Conversations with Friends 

Kevin Moloney 

BPL Board of Trustees 

Madelyn Morales 

ESL Trainer 

Christine Moriarty 


Reva Morrison 


Kitty Nash 


Mary Natale 


Karen Norton 


Barbara Oakes 


Donald Oakes 


Bobbie Patrick 

ESL, Board 

Susan Peecher 


Francine Pennino 

Board, Book Sale 

Barbara Perry 


Karen Petersen 


Dorothea Piranian 


Julie Porter 


Shirley Ress 


Aileen Rice 


Marc Roberts 


Beverly Ross 

Exec. Dir., Co-Chair ESL, Book Sale 

Judy Ryerson 



Aurora Salvucci 

Board, Book Sale 

Jean Sheikh 

Board, Chair ESL 

Barry Silverman 

ESL, Conversations with Friends 

Darcie Smith 


Mary Jane Smith 

Book Sale 

Robert Smith 

Board, Save Our Library 

Frances Southern 


Susan Squillante 


Lois Stryker 


Martin Sullivan 


Edward Sweda, Jr. 


John P. Thomson 

Board, Save Our Library 

Kay Whelan 


Laura White 

Friends Forum 

Loura White 

Garry Wong 

BPL Community Library Services Office 

*\Ve apologize for any inadvertent omission of 
ESL Tutors, Book Sale volunteers, and others. 



Major City- Wide Friends Donations to the 
Boston Public Library with Book Sale Receipts: 


Stacking chairs for the Central Library 

Landscaping outside Boston Room, Central Library 

Preservation of reference materials 
Additional chairs for meetings 


Microprocessing of records 
Book return at Johnson Building 
Fax machines to branches 
Salary of Research Library intern for two years 
Cost of Dartmouth Street opening (ceremony) 


Renovation of conference room on concourse 
Wall-mounted exhibits 
Folding tables for the branches 
Fax machines for the branches 


Direct gifts to branch librarians for special projects and 
Miscellaneous items to make programming more exciting 
Annual Family pass to the New England Aquarium 
Book donations 
Sherrill House 
Long Island Shelter 
Supplementary Program of Educational Skills (SPES) 
Boston Partners in Education 
Blackstone School 
St. Francis House 
Judge Connelly Youth Center 
New England Conservatory 



3 9999 06307 765 3 

and with 

Post Office Box 286 
Boston, MA 02117 

(617) 536-5400 Ext. 341 

Room 202 Central Library 
Office Hours: MWF 1:00 - 4:00 

Illustration by Rudolph Ruzicka